A venerable academic survey confirms the dramatic rise in support for same-sex marriage. Reports of Scott Walker's electability may be overstated. And Americans support pay equity, but is it a voting issue? This is HuffPollster for Friday, March 6, 2015.
GSS SHOWS MAJORITY SUPPORT FOR SAME SEX MARRIAGE - Emily Swanson: "In the late 1980s, support for gay marriage was essentially unheard of in America. Just a quarter century later, it's now favored by clear majority of Americans. That dramatic shift in opinion is among the fastest changes ever measured by the General Social Survey, a comprehensive and widely respected survey that has measured trends on a huge array of American attitudes for more than four decades. Support for a right of same-sex couples to marry has risen 8 percentage points in the past two years and jumped 45 points since the question was first asked in 1988, when only 11 percent of Americans said they agreed with the idea. The survey now finds that only a third of Americans are opposed to gay marriage. The largest shift in support since 2012 has come among Republicans, just under half of whom — 45 percent — now support marriage rights for same-sex couples. That's a jump of 14 percentage points since 2012." [AP]
Tracks rising support measured by other polls. - The trend in the GSS data for the last ten years closely matches similar results from polls conducted by CBS News, Gallup and the Pew Research Center. [Source: Polling Report]
HOW ELECTABLE IS SCOTT WALKER? - Nate Cohn: "Gov. Scott Walker is the rare conservative favorite who emphasizes electability. He won three contests in four years in Wisconsin, which hasn’t voted for the Republican candidate in a presidential election since 1984....[But] it's not clear that Mr. Walker would have won re-election in November 2012, when he wouldn’t have had the many benefits of running in an off-year election. It’s still less clear that he could have run far ahead of Mr. Romney had he sought federal office; he would have been deprived of the labor and pensions issues that have split Democratic-leaning voters in many parts of the country. Mr. Walker’s electoral performance was average for a Republican running for governor in 2010 or 2014. His showing — a modest victory in a modestly Democratic state — was highly consistent with the extent that Republican candidates for governor outperformed Mr. Romney’s showing from 2012." [NYT]
MORE EXPECT 2016 TO FOCUS ON FOREIGN POLICY - HuffPollster: "For most voters, the 2014 elections revolved largely around economic issues. But with views of the nation's economy generally growing more favorable, more people expect foreign policy to dominate the next campaign cycle, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. By a 7-point margin, 41 percent to 34 percent, voters expect international issues to take precedence in the next presidential election. While Democrats are about equally split between domestic and foreign issues, Republicans said by a 27-point margin that they expect international policy to take priority -- in part because it's one of the topics on which they're least satisfied with President Barack Obama. After two election cycles spent largely slamming the president over the economy and the Affordable Care Act, Republicans named neither issue among the two topics Obama is doing the worst job of addressing. Instead, foreign policy and immigration took the top spots with 44 and 45 percent, respectively -- the latter likely due in part to the poll's timing during the debate surrounding the president's executive actions on immigration. Just 22 percent mentioned the economy." [HuffPost]
SUPPORT FOR CLINTON ON PAY GAP ISSUES - Amanda Becker and Jonathan Allen: "A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that about two-thirds of Americans believe men are generally paid more than women, a finding that suggests that Democrat Hillary Clinton's message on pay inequality could resonate broadly with Americans should she run for president in 2016. Fifty-one percent of respondents said the U.S. government should be doing more to encourage equal pay, the online poll of 2,348 adults from Feb. 27 to March 3 showed. The broad interest in pay equality may indicate why Clinton, the presumed Democratic presidential front-runner, has chosen to highlight gender during recent appearances. Clinton has championed the economic advancement of women as a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady. If Clinton is elected to the White House, she would be the first female U.S. president." [HuffPost]
How much do people care? - Closing the pay gap is popular, but relatively few Americans think it's a policy that would personally benefit their lives. In a HuffPost/YouGov poll last year, just 31 percent of Americans, including 36 percent of women, said a law to help ensure men and women are paid equally for their work would directly help them or their family. [HuffPost]
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FRIDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:
-Fifty-four percent of Americans say getting children vaccinated is "extremely important," down from 64 percent 14 years ago. [Gallup]
-Pope Francis' popularity continues to grow among Americans. [Pew]
-President Obama's job approval rating is net positive on the Economist/YouGov poll for the first time since April 2013. [@williamjordann]
-Candidates should beware of polls showing Americans growing hawkish on ISIS, writes Jon Bernstein. [Bloomberg]
-Gun ownership declines. [WashPost]